When I came to become a sadhu due to Shastriji Maharaj’s wish, I got the opportunity to serve him. I was 17-18 years old at the time and he looked after me so much.
During festival celebrations, there was naturally a shortage of blankets, but he would ask for and keep a blanket. At night, when my seva was completed, he would say to me, “I have kept that [blanket] for you. Take it and sleep.” He used to look after me in this way.
This especially happened when the celebration was in Bochasan. Many sadhus and devotees would come and Nirgundas Swami managed the distribution of blankets to all. In a cupboard in the guesthouse there were about 300 blankets. Some people would claim to have others with them and take several blankets to sleep. Thus, there would not be enough for everyone. So, at night at about 11-12 o’clock, Nirgun Swami would go around. If he saw anyone using one blanket spread on the floor, one as a pillow and one for cover, he would take the extras. Then he would redistribute whatever he collected to those who did not have any.
In Shastriji Maharaj’s room in Bochasan, there was a wooden stand. If there were extra blankets there, sometimes others would come and take them. So, Shastriji Maharaj would take a blanket, roll it into a pillow and keep it aside for me. Nobody would take it from Swami’s bed. At night, when I came he would give it to me. I would spread a mat or bed sheet on the floor and sleep.
In the winter, I would sleep there and make do with whatever was available.
From a young age, my body was thin and I did not eat much. But Shastriji Maharaj would eat a little and give the rest to me, saying, “You should eat a little more, so that you can do more seva in the future.”
Seeing my thin body, Shastriji Maharaj would hold my hand and say, “Your body should be like a full pea pod, so that you can work properly.” Then he would say, “In a well-to-do family, the children would be fed extra in the winter, so that they would remain healthy. You should eat in this way.”
If devotees had brought some laddus, he would keep them in a tin and give me one every morning. If I couldn’t eat it all, he would tell me to eat half.
He used to take care for my food and other things. He also sent me to make sure that food and lodgings for the devotees was adequate and taught me how to do seva.
At the parayan in Karachi, Swami held my wrist and said, “Your wrist should be like a full pea pod.” With great affection he always used to feed me.
My appetite increased after going on the Special Train Yatra with Yogiji Maharaj in 1953. Before that, I didn’t eat much. I was thin from the start, but by Swami’s blessings, I gained weight.
Q: Did Shastriji Maharaj seat you with him to eat?
Pramukh Swami Maharaj: "When Swami ate, I would be serving. That was not the time to sit and eat."
Q: Kashikaka of Bhadran used to say that just like a king who gets a son at the age of 60 showers great love on him, he had personally seen that Shastriji Maharaj showered such affection on Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Did Shastriji Maharaj ever call you specially to give you prasad?
Pramukh Swami Maharaj: "He would call me whenever he was giving to all. If halvo from Mumbai had come, he would give it to all the sadhus. He would give gharis from Surat to all."
Q: When you talked about becoming a sadhu, and (much later) when you reached Sarangpur (in the rain), Shastriji Maharaj embraced you. Did he embrace you on any other occasions?”
Pramukh Swami Maharaj: "Many times – whenever we went to him while studying or we came from somewhere."